Get All Access for $5/mo

Melinda Gates Was Reportedly Haunted by Bill's Relationship With Jeffrey Epstein Melinda Gates told her friends that she wanted nothing to do with Epstein after she met him.

By Fatma Khaled

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Melinda Gates told her friends that she was uncomfortable when she first met the late financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, according to the Daily Beast.

Gates was frustrated about her husband Bill's relationship with Epstein and told her friends that she wanted nothing to do with the latter, the publication reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Friends of the Gates' told the Daily Beast that Epstein still haunts her.

The news comes days after the couple announced their divorce. On Monday, Bill announced on Twitter that he and Gates were separating after 27 years of marriage.

Related: 3 Leadership Lessons From Bill and Melinda Gates' Divorce

Gates first met Epstein with her husband in New York City in 2013, on the same day the couple received the Lasker-Bloomberg Public Service Award at the Pierre Hotel, according to the Daily Beast.

An anonymous associate in the tech industry who attended events where Epstein was also a guest told the Daily Beast that Gates' disapproval of Epstein was unsurprising.

"He just was an obnoxious guy. He almost made a point of having bad manners, not paying attention at dinner … I could see how anybody, even without suspicions, would not want to be around him," the associate described Epstein.

Epstein reportedly claimed to be a tax consultant for Microsoft, according to a New York Times article in 2019, although a company spokesperson later refuted that assertion. Another story from the newspaper that same year reported that Bill started meeting Epstein in 2011 and did so on multiple occasions. Epstein allegedly discussed philanthropy projects with Bill and tried to pitch a new charitable fund to the Gates Foundation and managers at JPMorgan, according to the Times.

"If you ask Bill Gates [about Epstein's sex abuse], he'll say, "Oh I had absolutely no idea he wasn't up to anything of the highest moral character.' But I seriously doubted Epstein's moral character," the anonymous associate told the Daily Beast.

"The people around him [Epstein] had a varying spectrum of what they knew and what they didn't know and how they rationalized it," the associate added.

Bill was criticized over his connection with Epstein following the financier's arrest in July 2019, according to the Daily Beast. Epstein was charged with sex trafficking and died in prison later that year.

"I met him. I didn't have any business relationship or friendship with him," Bill said in September 2019, as quoted by the publication. "Every meeting where I was with him were meetings with men. I was never at any parties or anything like that. He never donated any money to anything that I know about."

Fatma Khaled

Freelance Writer

Fatma Khaled covers different news beats ranging from tech, finance, retail and international business to human interest and social justice stories. She previously reported for Business Insider, TheStreet and New York Daily News.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Side Hustle

This Mom Started a Side Hustle on Facebook — Now It Averages $14,000 a Month and She Can 'Work From a Resort in the Maldives'

Heather Freeman was searching for a way to make some extra cash — and her cousin gave her a great idea.


Taco Bell Unveils a Luxury 'Early Retirement Community' — Here's How to Claim Your Spot

Taco Bell Rewards Members will have the opportunity to secure a spot at The Cantinas starting July 16.

Business Process

Never Reveal These 3 Things If You Want to Sell Your Business Successfully, Startup Attorney Warns

Mergers and acquisitions are complex and a majority of them fail. Here's what a successful M&A deal looks like; some of the reasons that deals fall apart; why founders should be careful when speaking to potential buyers; and why they should be careful about sharing information before the deal goes through.

Side Hustle

This 26-Year-Old's Side Hustle That 'Anybody Can Do' Grew to Earn $170,000 a Month. Here's What Happened When I Tested It.

Stephen Alvarez was working at a dental supply company and following his passion for cars on the side — then an Instagram ad changed everything.

Business News

Why Does Taylor Swift Keep Stopping Her Shows Mid-Song? It's Actually a Great Lesson in Leadership.

Taylor Swift has paused nearly half of her shows while on the European leg of her Eras tour, and the reason is something leaders can learn from.

Starting a Business

He Turned His High School Science Fair Project Into a Product That Solves a $390 Billion Problem: 'This Has Not Been Done Before'

Vasya Tremsin was just 18 years old when he came up with the idea for outdoor fire sensor company Torch Sensors.